Results 1-2of 2 Reviews
Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
November 9, 2002
Hobart’s Royal Botanical Gardens excel at all of the above, captivating visitors with inspirational displays, inventive new exhibits and sweeping river views.
The Queens Domain occupies a large hilly area immediately to the city’s north. Most of it is reserved as public parkland but 14 hectares of its eastern flank was set aside in 1818 and used by early governors to establish the gardens that flourish today.
With most of a sunny afternoon to kill after a morning’s sightseeing, a picnic in the gardens sounded good. There’s a shop, restaurant and kiosk complex to the right as we enter, but a riot of colour diverts us and we explore a carefully crafted display of Chinese/Tibetan plants, maples showcasing their autumn splendour.
Past a sunken lily pond surrounded by delicate ferns is an open space dominated by spectacular oaks, ablaze in gold and russet tones. Picnic perfect. We share the experience with a young family. Mum and dad are infatuated with each other and their infant daughter is a practicing hippie, resplendent in beads, kaftan and an oversize patchwork hat. She’s busy collecting leaves, throwing them in the air, then running away from them.
Our view of the Derwent River is framed by a deep blue canvas, broken by the occasional litter of raining leaves. It’s hard to imagine a better place.
The journey continues though several theme exhibits to a more curious display – Peter Cundall’s Vegie Patch. Peter hosts a popular ABC gardening show where viewers tune in for all the dirty tricks on mulching and composting their way to growing better vegetables. It’s filmed here and visitors are free to explore this working garden first hand.
Further north through a high brick wall is the Japanese Garden, one of the most popular displays. It’s beautiful in every season but today the maples are incredibly vivid, their watery reflections demanding attention. The kaftan kid and her parents arrive, and she leaps past us across a red, arched bridge and balances astride a large stone lantern.
Approaching the herb garden we detour to the Sub-Antarctic House, a unique exhibit where the conditions of Australia’s subantarctic islands is chillingly recreated to display a fascinating collection of indigenous flora. The education continues as we conclude our visit with a tour of the Botanical Discover Centre.
A series of clever interactive exhibits entertain and instruct as they lead participants through the wonders of the plant world. There are games, videos, hands-on displays, microscopes, computers, even a "factory" where operators can imitate the photosynthesis process. It’s packed with wide-eyed kids and parents.
Come for a visit, it’s guaranteed fun for all the family.
From journal Australia's Great Southern Island (A Capital Idea)
Townsville, Queensland, Australia
June 2, 2002
These gardens are a real hidden treasure. They could be the best-kept and attractive small public garden in Australia. Entry to the gardens is free and they are a great place to wander and appreciate over 6,000 exotic and native plant species.
We drove to the gardens and used the free car park. Alternatively, we could have taken a bus from the Elizabeth Street bus station. The gardens were established in 1818 on a bend of the Derwent River. They have matured wonderfully and now provide hours of enjoyment for many visitors. The gardens are well laid out with a walk along the Derwent River on one side and stunning views up to Mount Wellington behind. Check out Tasmania’s native flora and see the exotic plants in the conservatory. There is a cactus house, a pretty Japanese Garden, and lovely lawns with huge trees including the largest collection of mature conifers in Australia.
The gardens also have some other attractions. The very popular Australian TV series ‘Gardening Australia’ has established a section in the gardens where vegetables and other plants are planted and developed. You can walk through this area at most times. Then there is a sub-Antarctic plant house where you can brave the cold and see plants and landscapes from this remote, frigid region. There is also an interactive Botanical Discovery Centre which can be explored for admission of A$6.
The gardens also have a nice restaurant. Within this building there are also botanical displays worth seeing. Examples of Tasmania’s most famous wood, the Huon Pine, are nearby.
From journal Great Stuff in Hobart